Mt. Norquay Ski Resort Your winter adventure starts at Mount Norquay. Fri, 21 Sep 2018 14:33:19 +0000 en hourly 1 146260832 5 Epic Day Adventures from Calgary Thu, 20 Sep 2018 18:32:14 +0000 The post 5 Epic Day Adventures from Calgary appeared first on Mt. Norquay Ski Resort.


Summer is coming to an end, the mountain air is crisping up, and the peaks are seeing their first dusting of snow. For some of you this means snuggling up fireside with a cup of hot cocoa, but for others this is the transition you’ve been waiting for, because it only means one thing: ski season is coming!

We’re just as hyped as you are but we’ve still got a little waiting to do. In the meantime, we’ve pulled together some of our favourite activities in the mountains that scream adventure – and you can do them all in a day and be back to the city in time for dinner.


These guys are seriously RAD. Owners Mike and Ryan kitted out a 14-passenger van that can take you just about anywhere in the mountains. Moose Trail Overland have paired fun outdoor activities like rafting or SUP with 5-star meals and local distillery tours so you don’t have to plan a thing.

Their year-round programming means you’ve always got a reason to get outside and soak in the fresh air.

Start your day in Canmore around 9:30 am and you’ll be back to your car by 3 pm. Not in a fuss to make it back before dark? Check out their full day tours or night photography classes.



We’ve got something for every season. Visit the Sightseeing Chairlift, Cliffhouse Bistro, and Via Ferrata during the summer – which are still running by the way! Get on up there by October 8 to check this one off your bucket list.

In between our summer and winter seasons, check out our hiking trails. Stoney Squaw and Cascade Amphitheater both start from our parking lot. Our friends at can give you the full lowdown here.

And, it goes without saying that a ski day in the mountains is a phenomenal excuse to get out of the city in the winter. From beginners to experts there’s runs and passes for all. Want to spice it up? Test your speed at our Tube Park and see if you can beat our resident 8-year-olds down. Our bets are on them.



The cool thing about the mountains is that they’re fun in any season and Kananaskis Outfitters can prove it. Make your way into K-Country and hook yourself up with some rentals or a guide. They’ll show you their home range by foot, biking, SUP, canoe, cross-country ski, or snowshoe.

Rentals are based on an hourly or daily rate, so spend as little or as much time as you want exploring. We always advocate for adventure paired with snacking so stop into Pomeroy Kananaskis Mountain Lodge for a meal before heading back. They’ve got options for all tastes!


Five degrees. You heard that right. No matter the day, no matter the time of year, the cave is always 5 degrees Celsius. So, if you’re our cocoa drinker, don’t worry about the colder weather coming in, you’ll know what to expect and can stay warm and dry while doing it.

Scooch your bum (literally scooch) beneath Grotto Mountain to explore a wild cave – no handrails or flood lights. You’ll experience the cave the way nature made it and learn all about its formation from your highly trained guide.

Pick their Explorer Tour (4.5 hours) or Adventure Tour (6 hours) for a fun day literally IN the mountains. They’re also ramping up their fall unEarthed events, catch a nighttime concert, talk, performance, or Hallowe’en event all in the Grand Gallery inside the cave.

If you tried out our Via Ferrata this summer but haven’t done this yet, you’re sure to love it! They’re a perfect complement for each other.

Rats Nest cave near Canmore, AB / professional caver Adam Walker
(Francois Xavier DeRuydts)


Some say that you’re not a true Albertan without your cowboy boots and hat. We generally prefer ski/board boots and a toque, but we see their point. That’s why we’ve added Boundary Ranch to our list.

Up until mid-fall you can book yourself on a horseback tour of the Rockies. Get acquainted with the mountains from another perspective and get to know your horse while you’re at it.

During the winter, switch it up and snuggle up for a horse-drawn sleigh ride. This adventure is a little less strenuous but will deliver equally as epic views as our other options.

Yahoo’s welcome!

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6 Great Hikes Within 15 Minutes of Banff Thu, 20 Sep 2018 18:20:06 +0000 The post 6 Great Hikes Within 15 Minutes of Banff appeared first on Mt. Norquay Ski Resort.


We’ve invited our friends at to help us find some of the best hikes in the area. They’ve tested them all and want to give you the lowdown on each hike and why you should make room for them this season.

If you’re in Banff and you simply need to get out on a hike, we’re here to help. You don’t always have time for a long drive to the trailhead, so we are sharing 6 hikes within a 15-minute drive of the town of Banff. We’ve grouped the hikes by difficulty, and thankfully some of the hikes start right from Banff Avenue, which means you don’t even need a car!


If you are in Banff for a day, why not add on an easy hike for the family? These easy hikes take from 1-3 hours and range from 3-5 km with elevation of 70 m – 300 m over the hike.

A classic, family-friendly walk in Banff is the route along the Bow River to the Banff Springs Hotel. This is a very pretty walk and allows you to walk from Banff Avenue to the Banff Springs Hotel, with a stop at Bow Falls along the way. This hike is great year-round, and with a total distance of 6 km and little elevation gain, it is popular for all ages. We often do this as an after-dinner walk during the summer.


Another great family-friendly walk is the popular Stoney Squaw Trail at Mount Norquay ski resort. This walk starts from the far end of the Mount Norquay Parking Lot and is a wonderful 4.5 km journey through the forest gaining 190 m of elevation. The route takes you to one of our favourite viewpoints around Banff, the Stoney Squaw Lookout. Not only can you look down on the town of Banff, but you get an exceptional view of Cascade Mountain. Kids love this walk, and for older kids you can make it a circuit. In winter, this is a nice snowshoe or microspike trail. Save a step, leave your car parked in town, and catch our free shuttle from the town of Banff – it runs most of the year.



These intermediate hikes are great half-day hikes and are good for more experienced hikers. The hikes are longer and have more elevation gain than the easier hikes shared above.

While not exactly towering over Banff, Tunnel Mountain is the smallish mountain east of the town of Banff. Tunnel Mountain starts and finishes on Banff Avenue – so there’s no excuse not to grab a coffee and some patisseries and hit the trail! The route gains 300 m over 4.3 km ending with a birds-eye view down to Banff and out to the Bow Valley. This is a steep hike, though children as young as 4 are known to have hiked the whole trail. In winter, the path can be icy, so you’ll need microspikes and some experience if you want to tackle it.


Another great intermediate hike is the hike to Cascade Amphitheatre, which is another classic Banff hike. This hike starts at the Mount Norquay ski resort parking lot and snakes along beside the base of the Norquay ski lifts before crossing a creek and heading up to the Cascade Amphitheatre. This hike is more challenging, with 675 m of elevation gain over 12.9 km, though it’s on a good trail. This is a great day out for intermediate hikers. End your day at the Cliffhouse Bistro for a celebratory beer or tea-infused cocktail.



There are a couple of incredible full-day hikes near the town of Banff. These are big days and we urge you not to underestimate these hikes. Make sure you are prepared and experienced before embarking on either of these hikes.

We love hiking the Cory Pass and Edith Pass Circuit, located just off the Bow Valley Parkway (Highway 1A). This hike has a couple challenging bits that involve the use of hands (and bums) to get over difficult parts, however the views along the Gargoyle Valley are spectacular. It’s hard to believe this hike is so close to Banff with how remote you’ll feel. It’s a big day out with 1,075 m of elevation gain over 14.3 km, but it’s completely worth it.


We saved the best hike for last, the stunning trip up to Bourgeau Lake and Harvey Pass. While some people feel this hike has too much time in the trees, we think the payoff at Bourgeau Lake, Harvey Lake, and Harvey Pass are worth it, all of which welcome you with spectacular views. It’s a big day of hiking with 1,075 m of elevation gain over 20.4 km of hiking, though the trail is well maintained. If you’re feeling fit, you can also hike up to the top of Mt Bourgeau, however that’s another 400 m of elevation gain and 2.7 km!


About our friends at provides over 140,000 users a month with free, guidebook-quality route guides to the best hiking in 50 of the most beautiful places on earth. We are soon to launch, which will share not only the best hikes, but route guides for the best biking, backpacking, skiing and climbing.

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The Ins and Outs of Snow School Wed, 29 Aug 2018 13:08:46 +0000 The post The Ins and Outs of Snow School appeared first on Mt. Norquay Ski Resort.


Canadian winters weren’t meant for the faint of heart and that’s why you’ve chosen to live somewhere that doesn’t shy from it. You love spending time in the snowy mountains during the season we’re most known for and want your kids to grow up enjoying it just as much.

We’re of the same mind and have created kid-friendly programs to occupy your mini-mes throughout ski season. Sign them up for snow school and embrace the colder weather by keeping them active and having fun.


Practice, practice, practice. We believe that improving your ski or snowboarding skills doesn’t come overnight, which is why we designed a series of 8-week long programs to help your kids advance to the next level.

Learning at their own pace, we cater the lessons to their level in a small group setting. They build confidence and spend time with kids their age while they’re out of school. It also leaves you some time to grab that cup of coffee or unleash on the slopes yourself while your little ones are well taken care of.

Ages 3-17 are welcome to sign up for 1-hour, 2-hour, or full-day classes. Spots fill up quickly, so we recommend reserving a place as early as possible.


Limited on holiday time and the kids are out of school again? We know the struggle and our instructors are here to help with an affordable solution. Your kids from 3-12 years old at any ski level are sure to enjoy their time off with their Norquay Family.

Start the season off on the right foot with Early Season Camps. Shake the rust off those skier legs on Saturdays or Sundays for 3 consecutive weeks at the beginning of the season.

Over the Christmas Holidays, sign them up for a 3-day program ranging from 1-hour, 2-hour, or full-day classes.


We’ll help them channel the extra energy from the too many holiday desserts that your relatives have been so kindly sneaking them.

Spend Family Day Weekend your way. With 1-hour and 2-hour programs running over 3 days, you can spend the morning with your significant other for some kid-free ski time and then ski as a family later in the day. Or, sign them up for full-day programs and take a little vacation to yourself.

When you live close by to a mountain town there’s no need to escape for Spring Break. Take a ski vacation in your own backyard and sign the kids (3-12 years old) up for a 3-day program that caters to all ski levels. Don’t miss out on the warmer blue bird days.


If you’re limited on time or just looking for a refresher our drop-in lessons are ideal. You can choose from group or private lessons from 1 to 2 hours in length. The lessons can be specific to skiing, snowboarding, or terrain parks with kids of all ability levels.


Finding childcare for PD Friday’s can be a challenge. Allow us to pick your child up, with stops at the Canmore Recreation Centre and Banff Elementary School and spend the afternoon with them learning to ski or board.

This 8-week program runs every Friday afternoon based on the Canadian Rockies Public Schools Calendar for 7-16-year-olds. Local kiddies will spend the afternoon outside, breathing in fresh air, learning a new skill, and enjoying time with new and old friends.

Program dates for the 2018/19 season: November 30, December 14, January 11, January 25, February 8, March 8, March 22, and April 5.


Give us a call 403-760-7716 or email and let us help you pick the best option.

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Your Guide to the Via Ferrata Tue, 28 Aug 2018 13:43:47 +0000 The post Your Guide to the Via Ferrata appeared first on Mt. Norquay Ski Resort.


The Via Ferrata is an assisted climbing experience with cables and ladders built into the side of Mt. Norquay. You’re clipped in the whole way and will reach new heights and panoramic views with any of our routes. And, in case you’re a little nervous, we thought we’d mention that the cables can support up to 40,000kg which equals about 80 moose or 200 male grizzly bears. While falling isn’t encouraged, it’s definitely supported.

With four routes to choose from, you may need a little help choosing the best one for you. We’ve broken down the tours and your options here, so your biggest worry is what to order for your après.


On each and every one of our tours, your safety comes first. Our ACMG-certified guides are not only here to ensure you have the best memory of Banff, but also that you’re comfortable, and challenged, throughout the day. Never climbed a Via Ferrata before? Don’t sweat (or at least save it for the climb), no experience necessary!

Pack your sturdiest hiking boots, a water bottle, camera, and weather-appropriate clothing. Travelling between 2000 m and 2450 m of elevation, you’ll notice it’s a bit cooler than town and generally with a bit of a breeze, which is going to feel so nice after the workout on the climb up. We’ll provide you with a helmet, lanyard harness and carabiners, and of course the guide to lead the way. If you need extras like hiking boots, sunscreen, gloves, rain gear, and backpacks, we’ll get you sorted with our FREE rentals.

Without further ado – here’s your four options:


The Explorer is the best option for those who are pressed for time or just wanting to dip their toe. At 2.5 hours you cover 1 km distance and 145 m of elevation gain. It’s a great introduction to the equipment and what the Via Ferrata experience is all about. Using the cables, foot and hand holds, and even a suspension bridge, you traverse the lower section of the mountain and still get high enough for some stellar views of Banff.


Summer: Available 7 days a week from June 9 to September 9, 2018 at 9:00 am and 3:30 pm
Fall: Available 7 days a week from September 10 to October 8, 2018 at 10:00 am and 3:30 pm



Starting from the same take-off point as the Explorer, you’re not missing out on any of the route. In fact, you go an extra 0.4 km, which may not seem like a lot, but we assure you, it will make quite the impression on the vastness of your views. During the 4 hours, 1.4 km distance, and 260 m of elevation gain, you’ll surpass the Memorial, Sunrise, and Vista buttresses. After the suspension bridge, buttresses, and outlooks, you’ll hike along the summit ridgeline of Mt. Norquay, providing you with aerial views of Banff National Park – no helicopter needed.


Summer: Available 7 days a week from June 9 to September 9, 2018 at 8:30 am, 10:00 am, 1:00 pm, and 2:30 pm.
Fall: Available 7 days a week from September 10 to October 8, 2018 at 10:00 am, 1:00 pm, and 2:30 pm.



Are you experienced with Via Ferratas or crave a little bit of extra adrenaline? If so, the Skyline might be right up your alley. This 5-hour trip of 2.5 km distance and 290 m elevation gives you a chance to stretch your climbing muscles. You’ll take a totally different route than the Explorer and Ridgewalker tours, so even if you’ve done those before, it will feel like a brand-new mountain to explore. With an even longer and higher suspension bridge, you’ll get the chance to capture that envy-inducing Instagram shot.


Summer: Available 7 days a week from June 9 to September 9 at 9:30 am.
Fall: Available Saturday and Sunday from September 10 to October 8 at 10:30 am.



Alright mountaineers in-training, listen up, this one is for you. The Summiteer is the longest of the four routes and was introduced in 2017 along with the Skyline. With limited trips available on each route, you’ll be one of the few to complete this trip. Continuing on from the end of the Skyline, you’ll cross an additional three-wire suspension bridge, we like to call her “little spicy.” With nothing but a wire below your feet, it will feel like you’re floating above the clouds. Within 6 hours, 3.2 km of distance, and 360 m of elevation gain, you’ll have traversed sheer rock face, completed a planked suspension bridge and a wire bridge, climb an out-hanging ladder, and crossed an alpine ridge. To top it all off, you’ll be treated to a beverage and appetiser at the Cliffhouse Bistro post-tour, it’s a treat well deserved.



Summer: Available 7 days a week from June 9 to September 9, 2018 at 9:00 am.
Fall: Available Saturday and Sunday from September 10 to October 8, 2018 at 10:00 am.

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You’ve Ticked the Via Ferrata Off Your List, What’s Next? Tue, 28 Aug 2018 13:20:50 +0000 The post You’ve Ticked the Via Ferrata Off Your List, What’s Next? appeared first on Mt. Norquay Ski Resort.


Completing the Via Ferrata is a huge personal accomplishment. You’ve pushed past your comfort zone and are now living with the realization that you can accomplish anything you put your mind to. We’re proud of you!

Now that you’ve taken a step outside of the box, what’s next? We’ve come up with a list of challenges to help you fill your bucket list back up.

Hike and Scramble to the Summit

Chances are, if you live close by to Norquay or visit often, you’ve summited a mountain before, and we’re not talking Tunnel Mountain. By now, you’ve reached the top of Mt. Norquay through an assisted climb, but there are many more that you can reach just by hiking or maybe even by scramble.

Unlike the Via Ferrata, which can be completed rain or shine, you’re going to want to make sure you’ve got optimal weather. It can change quickly in the mountains and we wouldn’t want you getting stuck. So, do your homework and be prepared. Parks Canada is an excellent resource for hikes in the area and things you should know before heading out.


Within a 5-minute drive of Banff you can summit Mt. Rundle, Sulphur Mountain, and Cascade Mountain (Cascade is accessed from Mt. Norquay’s parking lot). Each summit takes between 4-9 hours roundtrip so plan a full day around this journey. We suggest lots of snacks!

Rock and Ice Climbing

It’s time to take the training wheels off! If you’ve gotten the itch to climb, try your hand at rock or ice climbing. Yamnuska Mountain Adventures has routes all along the Canadian Rockies in Canmore, Banff, and Lake Louise. Their ACMG-certified guides are not only amply qualified but also fun to spend a day with. We’re pretty partial to our guides, but we’d grab a beer with these guides, too.

It’s an awesome experience year-round from rock faces to frozen waterfalls – you’re never without something to climb. You’ll already have an idea of the equipment, but they’ll teach you the ropes – literally.

(Banff & Lake Louise Tourism // Noel Hendrickson)


If you’re anything like us, you’re always chasing the next thrill. Sometimes that involves passing the peak and what better way to do so than taking a helicopter ride above the mountains. Plus, if you still want to get your daily steps in, they’ll drop you off for a hike.

White Mountain Adventures and Alpine Helicopters have paired up to give you guided hikes in areas that would be difficult to reach otherwise. We’re in the interest of filling up your postcard with jealousy-inducing travel stories, so why not write home and tell them you’ve been somewhere only a few other humans have ventured?


Next Via Ferrata Route

It’s possible that you’ve completed one of our shorter routes – the Explorer or Ridgewalker. If you’re anything like our friend Kristy, this was a huge win! It wasn’t so bad, now was it?

Now, that you’ve conquered the east side of Mt. Norquay, we want you to come back and test out the more western routes – the Skyline and Summiteer. These two longer routes take a totally different path and you’ll test your skills on new rock faces and bridges.

Continuing west through Canada? You’ll find other Via Ferrata Routes to test out – we just can’t promise you’ll love them as much as our own.


Canmore Cave Tours

You’ve been high above the mountains, now it’s time to go below. You heard that right, below Grotto Mountain (just a thirty-minute drive from Mt. Norquay) lies Rat’s Nest Cave. Canmore Cave Tours will lead the way through this 4-km long cave that was formed by waterflow and glacial retreats thousands of years ago, now a dry cave, you can explore it in your sneakers and coveralls.

Crawl through passageways lined by stalactites and stalagmites with nothing but a headlight guiding your way. Complete with an 18 m rappel and squeezes, your adrenaline will be pumping.

(Travel Alberta)

Whatever your next adventure, we’re pleased that Mt. Norquay made your short list. Thanks for joining us on the Via Ferrata, we can’t wait to see you again!

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Meet Our Wild Neighbours (Photo Gallery) Thu, 23 Aug 2018 20:03:43 +0000 The post Meet Our Wild Neighbours (Photo Gallery) appeared first on Mt. Norquay Ski Resort.


Removed from Banff Ave is a place where animals roam free and graze snowless ski slopes. Mt. Norquay welcomes its wilder neighbours with open arms each year as they wake from hibernation and descend from the highest of altitudes.

For the best (and safest) views, take the Sightseeing Chairlift to the platform below the Cliffhouse Bistro. If you’re lucky, you might spot our furry friends, but you’re sure to have some great views either way.

Here, we’ve pulled together some of our favourite Norquay wildlife-spots – enjoy!

Please keep in mind that all animals in Banff National Park are wild. Respect their distance and give them the right of way. And, please don’t leave your car, you endanger the animal and yourself by doing so.

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5 Ways to Get Above Banff with Little to No Effort Wed, 22 Aug 2018 17:52:10 +0000 The post 5 Ways to Get Above Banff with Little to No Effort appeared first on Mt. Norquay Ski Resort.


There’s no better way to take in the sheer scale of the mountains than getting above them. Since drones are a big no-no in the national park and scrambling peaks isn’t for everyone, we’ve pulled together five different ways to get an aerial view – with a lot less effort.

Fairmont Banff Spring’s Lookout Patio

We promised little to no effort, so we’ll ease you in with a no-effort-needed option first. The iconic Fairmont Banff Springs offers stunning views of the Bow River and Bow Falls. Stop in to the Lookout Patio, during the summer, or Rundle Lounge, during the winter, for astounding views. Only a few minutes’ drive from downtown, you’re removed from the bustle of Banff Ave and can treat yourself to their hand-crafted cocktails. If you’d like to up the ante, walk up from town. There’s a lovely paved path that follows the Bow River to Bow Falls, it’s just a short walk to the Banff Springs from there.

(Banff & Lake Louise Tourism // Paul Zizka)


You caught us, this one isn’t technically in the park. But, we don’t discriminate against our neighbouring mountains, and neither should you! Most flights take off from just outside the park in Canmore (20 minutes east of Banff) and they’ll take you on some pretty epic adventures. Whether you’re up for a leisurely sightseeing flight or want a drop off amongst the peaks for hiking, yoga, fishing, or skiing, they’ll take you to places rarely seen by other people.


Mt Norquay’s Sightseeing Chairlift

We couldn’t create a list of the best views of Banff and leave out the best of them all, which is our own, of course! During the summertime, arrive at Mt. Norquay’s North American Lodge (by car, bike, or shuttle), and pick up your tickets to the sightseeing chairlift. Crossing between forested and open areas you’ll have the opportunity to catch glimpses of Banff on your way to the sightseeing platform and maybe even some creatures among the trees.

After an eight-minute ride to the top, you’ve arrived at the platform. From here, you’ll not only be greeted with the iconic view of Mt. Rundle overlooking Banff Avenue, but it’s also frequented by our neighbours, the resident big horn sheep.

(Banff & Lake Louise Tourism // Paul Zizka)

We wouldn’t blame you if you’re hungry from the efforts of getting on and off the lift, which is why we’ve created an irresistible summer menu at our mid-mountain restaurant, the Cliffhouse Bistro, mere steps from the platform.

Hike Tunnel Mountain

Tunnel Mountain, also affectionately known as Sleeping Buffalo, is located in the heart of Banff. A short walk from downtown will put you at the base of the mountain; it’s a 1-1.5-hour roundtrip hike, covers 4.3 km of distance, and 300 m of elevation gain. In comparison to the towering mountains that surround Banff, this one’s a baby.

Following graded switchbacks (a path that zig-zags across the mountain to make the elevation gain more gradual), you’ll arrive at what’s known as the false top.


This overlooks the town of Banff and offers stunning views of the valley. If you continue on towards the east side of the mountain you’ll pass views of the Fairmont Banff Springs Golf Course to the true top, where the Parks Canada red chairs rest.

The beauty of this hike? Aside from the views of course, is the little amount of time it takes to get high enough to afford the views. Bonus, if you’re heavy on the “less effort” part we noted in the title, you can drive and park at a middle point, cutting your hiking in half.

Hoodoo Trails

We are people of our promises and if the drive halfway up Tunnel isn’t even floating your boat, we’ve got just the place: Hoodoo Trail, just down Tunnel Mountain Road. This viewpoint gives you expansive views over the Bow River and the Fairmont Banff Springs Golf Course. There’s also a paved trail that lines the embankment you can follow to different viewpoints.

Hoodoos, naturally shaped by wind and water, are pillar-like formations of sandstone that contrast the rugged limestone mountains. While you’re on this trail, keep an eye out: elk are often spotted along here, especially during the fall rutt. You may even hear their bugling from a distance.


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10 “Pinch Me, Is This Real?” Views from the Via Ferrata Fri, 03 Aug 2018 14:03:17 +0000 The post 10 “Pinch Me, Is This Real?” Views from the Via Ferrata appeared first on Mt. Norquay Ski Resort.


Climbing the side of a mountain for the first time, assisted or not, can be intimidating, but you don’t get views like this with two feet planted on the ground. The Via Ferrata is an amazing way (and super accessible) to get the best views of Banff. With limited spots each day, you’re guaranteed to be one of only a few on the route at any given time, big horn sheep excluded.

If you don’t believe us, see for yourself. We’ve rounded up some stellar shots from our friends that have joined us on a climb this summer.

Find time for things that make you feel alive 🧗‍♂️ . . 📍Banff, Alberta 🇨🇦

A post shared by traveling4weeks (@traveling4weeks) on

Climbing with a crew on #mtnorquay @mtnorquay

A post shared by ponchillia (@jeffponchillia) on

The Via Ferrata consists of four routes. Choose from the Summiteer, Skyline, Ridgewalker, and Explorer based on your style. And remember, it’s always more fun when you’re with someone that will take your photo for you, so you can keep your hands busy climbing.

Share your photos with us by tagging @mtnorquay and #viaferrata.

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Climbing the Ridgewalker One Rung at a Time Wed, 01 Aug 2018 18:33:02 +0000 The post Climbing the Ridgewalker One Rung at a Time appeared first on Mt. Norquay Ski Resort.


Kristy Archibald joined us on the Ridgewalker Tour this summer. She is a creative Communications and PR strategist, freelance writer, coffee enthusiast, and wine connoisseur who has a strong passion for style, travelling, and grand adventures. See how she fared on her very first Via Ferrata trip.

Have you tried the Via Ferrata at Mount Norquay? Trust me when I tell you if I can do it, so can you. And here’s why!

Meet new people, embark on an adventure, and experience memories that you’ll never forget – sounds like a description that is usually right up my alley!

It’s always felt natural for me to be one of the first to volunteer to try new things and push myself into situations that are out of my cushy comfort zone. With being a writer and extremely right-brained, it’s these scenarios and experiences that are key to staying endlessly creative and continue to lead my journey throughout my life and career. However, that being said, usually (more like always) these situations are ones that involve me keeping two feet on the ground.

It’s no joke when I say I am absolutely terrified of heights. Acrophobia is more of an accurate description.


When I was a kid I puked on the tilt-a-whirl at the Stampede, had an anxiety attack I had on the Twister (if that’s what the kids are calling it these days), tried to make it up the climbing wall at summer camp and had to be immediately rescued halfway up, and to this day still have to knock myself out with sleeping pills every time I go on an airplane. You get the point – adrenaline infused activities and I don’t generally mix well together!


When I was asked to join on a Via Ferrata adventure I instinctively said “let’s do it” – being naive is bliss sometimes! I did a bit of research the night before our mountain adventure and learned that Via Ferrata is Italian for “Iron Path,” a type of hiking combined with climbing that is well known all over the world. Still, I had never done something like this in my entire life, so I had no real idea what to expect.

This is the largest piece of advice I would offer anyone who is a bit hesitant to head up on the Via Ferrata. Don’t go into it completely blindsided, but allow yourself to embrace the unknown and go into this experience with a positive mindset.

I didn’t allow myself to question my ability, think of all the “what-ifs” of the situation or allow the little man on my left shoulder feed me thoughts that I couldn’t do it. Perspective and mindset are huge, this is one of those many life challenges that I highly recommend not overthinking.

When I arrived at Mt. Norquay that’s when I began to freak out a little bit, “this is really happening” I thought to myself. However, our guide, Katsu (bless him) did an amazing job at making us feel at ease by walking us through all of the steps and reminding us that we were in control of how this adventure was going to go.

A great perk to this adventure is how little you need to actually prepare on your end. All you need to bring is a litre of water, protein bar, hiking boots, and a lightweight backpack – free rentals are available upon request. Aside from those items, they provide you with all of the equipment that you will need to get yourself up and down the mountain, including the harnesses and clips.

To say I remained completely calm throughout the entire trip would be a complete lie. When we started I definitely had a very strong urge to run in the opposite direction, and there were many moments where the pit in my stomach continued to grow as I wondered how the heck I was really going to make it off this mountain!

As cliché as it sounds, it truly is about the journey. Throughout the climb, our group began to chat more, and everyone began to loosen up. We were making jokes and even cheering each other on by the end, making the last little bit of the climb and even the trek on the way down fun!

I definitely had many moments where I just didn’t look down, I only set my focus to the next rung and where my foot needed to be to make the next move. Thankfully Katsu was climbing ahead of us with his camera and ensuring he got the “money” shots for us to look back on later.


When I look at those photos it still amazes me that I made it up and down the mountain in one piece. I am proud of myself for persevering through it and not giving up because I certainly had a few moments where I would have liked to.

For those looking for a taste of the Via Ferrata, The Explorer is a great starting point and it’s only two and a half hours. If you want to push your adventure a little further, try The Ridgewalker. This is the journey that my group took and to be honest it felt good to go that extra little mile. The views are incredible and it’s only a four-hour journey, which goes by much quicker than you might expect. The Skyline and the Summiteer can be reserved for next year, once you have conquered the shorter routes!


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Six Sensational Summer Hangouts in Banff Fri, 27 Jul 2018 21:23:05 +0000 The post Six Sensational Summer Hangouts in Banff appeared first on Mt. Norquay Ski Resort.


Put Some “Aahh” Into Your Après with Our Top Picks for Dining with Epic Views

There’s nothing quite like summer in Banff, and with a mountain of activities on hand to fill the long, warm days, working up an appetite is the easy part. After breaking out a sweat on your mountain bike, summiting a peak, reaching the highest point of a Via Ferrata route, or spending the afternoon leisurely SUP’ing along the Bow River, it’s time for a well-deserved “cheers” and a refuel.

And for après-adventure, Banff has some mouth-watering options – where the surrounding vistas are just as alluring as the dinner menus, craft beer selections and cocktail lists.

Read on for our top picks of where to head to after a day of exploring in Banff.

The Juniper is still one of Banff’s best-kept secrets, and the expansive patio is a local favourite for sipping on something cool and refreshing, with one mighty view. Go with a group and take a seat: the signature peaks of Rundle, Cascade, and Tunnel Mountain will keep you good company as you graze on the Juniper Bistro’s delicious patio bites. We’d recommend the Moules-Frites (1lb of Atlantic mussels cooked in harissa cream, roasted red peppers, pickled fennel and chili oil), or, The Juniper’s take on a Canadian staple… (Pulled Pork Poutine anyone? Yes please!).


On the fine-dining side of Banff’s food scene, is the Three Ravens Restaurant & Wine Bar – found tucked away on Tunnel Mountain at the Banff Centre.  With a floor-to-ceiling glass surround, diners can soak in the wrap-around valley views while indulging in a high-end taste experience.  Lead by Executive Chef Sébastien Tessier, this is the place to order something a little different, such as the Octopus Carpaccio and Cured Arctic Char.  Sourced from British Columbia and served with plum jam, liquorish pearls, watermelon and mint salsa, you won’t be disappointed.


You don’t need to be a golfer to think that the Waldhaus Pub & Patio is a hole-in-one in the après stakes.  Pull up a chair and bask in the sunshine while overlooking the Fairmont Banff Springs’ iconic Stanley Thompson course.  With a Bavarian feel, this is the place to enjoy an authentic Hacker Pschorr beer and pub snacks, while letting the hours pass you by.


Well we couldn’t feature après with a view, without including our very own Cliffhouse Bistro, could we?! Sitting at an elevation of almost 7,000ft, the Cliffhouse Bistro’s breathtaking views are guaranteed to make you want to relax (perhaps order one of the just-launched tea-infused cocktails) and stay a while – and with that backdrop, why not?

With a focus on contemporary flavours, this original 1950s tea house is all about fresh, simple Albertan flair with a modern twist. With Executive Chef Morne Burger at the helm, this is the place to sip local craft beer and indulge in hearty, no-fuss dishes. Sharing is also encouraged: try the Gorditas (trust us, the Lime Chipotle Beef is to die for), or the Meat & Cheese Board – featuring locally cured meats, pates, artisanal cheeses, jams, and homemade bread. Tip: The warm salted pretzel with mustard thyme mascarpone & beer, confit garlic & cheddar is the perfect companion to a pint of Jasper Brewing Co. Crisp Pilsner.


Chuck’s Patio is the newest patio hangout to arrive Banff, making its debut just this month. Atop Chuck’s Steakhouse, a traditional Albertan meatery located on the corner of Banff Avenue and with 360-degree peak-to-peak views, this is a perfect early evening hangout. Order one of Chuck’s signature cocktails, such as the ‘Coal Miner’s Daughter’ – Hendrick’s gin, lemon, honey lavender syrup, egg white, activated charcoal, and then “branded” with a mist of Angostura bitters. Intrigued? Try it!


For a view of a different kind, visit our friends at Banff Ave Brewing Co. Here, it’s not just about the mountain views, but the people watching. Perch on the front patio and sip locally-crafted brew while taking in all the action from above Banff Avenue. Known simply by the locals as the ‘Brew Pub’, this brewery-in-a-bar concept is the hub of Banff’s social scene, and the perfect spot to gather a crew and sample the menu of ales, pilsners, IPAs and stouts. Brewing their signatures on-site, just feet away from the bar taps, the Brew Co. is a must stop-off on any Banff visit. Tip: Why not opt for their tribute tap, brewed to celebrate Mt. Norquay’s 92nd year? The ‘Norquay 92 Cranberry Orange Saison’ is all kinds of citrus and cranberry deliciousness; perfect for a hot summer day.

For more information on the Banff Ave Brew Co., click here. 

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